May 26, 2015

Macau Fine Dining - The Eight, Exquisite and Eye Pleasing Dim Sum

Short 3 days 2 nights trip to Macau, not for the scenery, not for the water show, but mainly for some get away time and food. Of course, food.

The Eight (8 餐廳) is located on the second floor of the Grand Lisboa Hotel. This Chinese restaurant currently holds a three Michelin stars status, which is also the only Asian cuisine that carries such honor in Macau.



The number "8" means good fortune in Chinese, the same goes to gold fish. As a result, you can find many 8-shaped and gold fish design throughout the restaurant -



Luxurious interior in an elegant but non-flashy way -



There are also a few private dining rooms on the other side of the restaurant -



Table setting - 



The Eight offers set menu, formal dining dishes, and dim sum. We only had two people so decided to focus on smaller portion dim sum. Hopefully we'll get a chance to try some of their larger portion signature plates in the near future.



Click for an enlarged view -



Set menu -



Dim sum items -







The waitress asked which type of Chinese tea we preferred and we got flower scented green tea -



The service is not up to par compared one Michelin starred restaurant back in the states. It was closed to lunch rush hours half way through the meal, all the waitresses were busy and didn't noticed that we were trying to get their attention for at least five minutes. We were trying to order something else and get our tea refilled. After our meal, we walked out the restaurant without any greetings, like no one would even notice if we just left and forgot to pay. 

However, despite a few service hiccups, most servers were very friendly and love to chat with customers a little to make them feel welcomed.

Complimentary X.O. sauce -


Complimentary appetizers: Pork floss on the left and small abalone seasoned with citrus peel infused sauce on the right -


The waitress suggested eating the pork floss with some of the spicy X.O. sauce. 

Steamed dumplings filled with blue shrimp -


How cute is that!?

The shrimp still holds a little bouncy texture with clean seafood aroma. I would expect the folding or the connecting parts of the wrapping carry a tougher texture, but the entire wrapping was smooth without any lumps, really delicate work.

Guilin chili sauce -


Not the over-powering kind of spiciness, but more like a back hint of chili taste. The fermented black beans gave this sauce a depth of sweetness, together with a thin layer of rice wine aroma, it'll be nice if I can just buy a whole jar and bring the sauce back home.

Steamed vegetarian buns filled with assorted mushrooms and cabbage -


Steamed dumplings with lobster, black truffle, and asparagus - 


The saltiness from that tiny drop of black truffle brings up the sweetness from the bouncy lobster meat. The tiny fish roe also bounces inside your mouth when chewing into the dumpling.

Roasted pork belly and roasted goose -


The stew juice and mustard were also served on the side to eat along with the pork belly. The sauce has a light Chinese medicinal herbal aroma. The pork belly was so delicious with perfect thin layer of crispy, crunchy skin. It tastes just as delicious even without any sauce. 


The roasted goose also comes with its own stew juice plus extra sweet and sour plum sauce on the side -


Same as pork belly, the goose itself was already unbelievable delicious without any dipping sauce. It might be the best roasted goose I've ever had. Even the meat is chopstick-tender and moist. The skin fat gently melts on your tongue when in contact with the warmth in your mouth, and it's not the yucky sticky kind of fat, but more like a thin aromatic coating that flows just right above the palates. Highly recommended.

Crispy barbecued pork buns with preserved vegetables -


Another highly recommended dish, you must order this. There are two choices: the steamed version or the crispy kind that comes with crunchy skin on the bottom. Trust me, go with the crispy one. 


The texture was irresistible with soft skin on top and a thin crust on the bottom. Even the spiky part is not as hard as it appears. The searing process further brings out flour mixture's natural sweetness taste on the bottom. 


You can see the how juicy the pork filling is from the picture, but the bun still holds up the texture without turning soggy. The Eight's crispy barbecued pork bun is now my number one char siu bao on the list.


Puff pastry with river shrimp in purse shape - 


Maybe my very first and only Hermèbag?


Can't really taste the shrimp, but the puff pastry is very delicate and buttery.

Crispy glutinous rice balls filled with egg custard -


Unlike the regular salted duck egg buns, the filling here is on the sweeter side -


Black and white sesame pudding with sesame ice cream -


The Eight grinds its own sesame in order to better control the quality and taste.

The sesame ice cream is the best part, milky flavor with crunchy texture from both the top sesame seeds and the bottom rice crisps. 

Complimentary milk tea and bird's nest coconut panna cotta -


Thick and condensed milk tea. Seems like The Eight likes to use high end ingredients such as abalone and bird's nest for complimentary dishes. 

It might be my cheapest three Michelin stars restaurant I'll ever experience. The final bill came about $56 US per person, can you believe it!? I highly recommend their eye-pleasing dim sum and perhaps order a few formal dishes if possible. Don't forget the porcupine shaped crispy barbecued pork buns, totally to die for.


The Eight
Grand Lisboa Hotel, 2nd Floor
Avenida de Lisboa, Macau 
(853) 2828 3838
http://www.grandlisboahotel.com/dining-the_eight-en

Opening hours:
Lunch - Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. ~ 2:30 p.m.
Lunch - Sunday and national holidays 10:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m.
Dinner - 6:30 p.m. ~ 10:30 p.m.

May 19, 2015

Creamy Broccoli Bake Using Cheddar and Cream of Mushroom

Something's wrong with me lately. Everything I touched somehow broken down or malfunctioned. The light tube fell off the ground when I tried to replace it, scratched my car rims twice, printer running out of ink, Windows froze, and the worst nightmare of all - blue screen of death.

Much energy spent on fixing and cleaning things so please allow me to write up a quick recipe instead. It also happened to be a no fuss cooking recipe. After this, I need to go lie down, take a deep breath, and recuperate. 

Creamy broccoli bake using Cheddar and cream of mushroom -




Ingredients?


  • 2 broccoli
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom
  • 1 small pack/200 grams shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs (I used Japanese panko mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning instead)


How?

Preheat the oven to 260 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Melt the butter and mix with seasoned bread crumbs. I used Japanese panko with 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning instead. 



Remove the fibrous layer from the broccoli stems and break into large bite size pieces. Steam for about 15 minutes.

Brush the bottom of the baking dish or casserole with oil or some melted butter to prevent sticking. Mix in 1 can of cream of mushroom with steamed broccoli. 


Add in the Cheddar cheese and mix well.

Evenly pour the bread crumbs over and into the oven for 20 minutes. 


It's an easy side dish recipe that goes well with seared fish fillet or rotisserie chicken. You can even serve it with simple pasta as one extra source of green veggies.


Maybe a few dashes of Tabasco if desired. I'm a sucker for spicy food, especially when it means  oozing cheese with a kick.

May 12, 2015

It's Breakfast Time! Buttery Omelette Topped with Simple Stir Fry Veggies

Maybe seeing Rihanna's yellow gown at the Met Gala this year inspired this recipe? 

Let's put the critics aside for the scrambled eggs-like dress, I do applause for her decision in choosing an actual Chinese designer for this year's theme - China: Through the Looking Glass. Rihanna found the designer online and the gown took two full years in the making, hand stitches in every detail, I think she's the one who truly embraced the topic of the night.

Well, I'm no expert on dresses and the whole fashion thing, but how about a buttery omelette that hitches a ride on this recent hot entertainment topic?

Buttery omelette topped with simple stir fry veggies -





Ingredients (for 1 to 2 portions)?


  • 6 small eggs or 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of drinkable water 

  • 6 button mushroom
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1/3 onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika



How?

Peel and dice the onion to small cubes. Peel and chop the zucchini to small cubes. Remove the stem and seeds from the tomato, chop the remaining to smaller cubes also. Discard the very bottom stems from the mushroom and chop the remaining into smaller pieces. 

Break the eggs into a big bowl, add in 1/8 teaspoon of salt and about 1/2 tablespoon of water. Beat well and set aside for later use.

Put the butter to a nonstick pan and turn to medium heat. Make sure the melted butter evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Pour in the egg mixture and gently stir the mixture to prevent any edges from browning too soon. We rather had under-cooked eggs rather than tough scrambled eggs. When the mixture looks about 60% done, transfer onto a plate and the remaining heat will continue to cook the egg mixture a little bit longer.


Clean the pan with paper towel. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped onion along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the onion turns translucent, add in diced zucchini and mushroom.

Give it a quick stir and cook till the zucchini and mushroom softened a little, add in diced tomatoes and smoked paprika. Mix well, taste and see if more salt is needed.


Scoop the stir fry veggies over the buttery eggs. Complete the meal with toasted bread or freshly squeezed juice! 

Other breakfast recipes:
Open faced blueberry bagel with creamy scrambled eggs and apple preserves
Open faced sandwich with fish floss, avocado, and Cheddar cheese square
No fuss cooking - breakfast mantou burgers
Japanese egg salad sandwich topped with smoked salmon (tamago sando)
Red guava and mild Cheddar sandwich
Weekend brunch twist - rotisserie chicken, strawberry, and ricotta croissant sandwich